To call Rita Moreno a star is a supreme understatement. Her presence, spirit, and endless energy have delighted and invaded (in the most wonderful ways) every form of entertainment. From commercials and guest-starring roles to her cavalcade of films over more than 75 years, Rita Moreno made a statement all her own, and she still has a lot to say about everything from the coronavirus, to the still-surging social unrest filling the streets, to still being a working actress in a time of the pandemic.

There's not much that slips by Rita Moreno, and the actress, singer, and dancer opened her June 15 conversation with Anthony Mason of “CBS This Morning” on a sassy note.

For the first time, the always- animated owner of an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award) has her likeness animated in a new special in her “One Day at a Time” series recreation on Pop TV. A plethora of special guests provides plenty of treats to keep viewers tantalized.

She's taking precautions, but Rita Moreno is still precocious

“I'm a very mischievous woman,” gushes the exuberant senior at the start of her feature segment. “I know, that's why we're here,” Anthony Mason quickly replies.

As with virtually every production in the realm of TV Shows, the Norman Lear re-imagining of “One Day at a Time” that came to screens three years ago went into lockdown in the spring with the siege of COVID-19.

Rita Moreno proudly went on “CBS This Morning” back then, too, spreading the word about the realism, diversity, and inclusion embedded in the reincarnation. She is delighted to promote the show but taking her time about coming back on the set.

When Mason probes a bit into whether Rita is itching to get back on set, the response comes swiftly.

“Not right now, I'm not,” the lovely silver-haired superstar confirms. “I'm 88, and it's no joke, this COVID-19.”

“It's very funny,” praises Rita Moreno of the animated adaptation, aptly titled “The Politics Episode” airing Tuesday (June 16). In one center stage moment, her character belts out. “I am the one who has all the talent!” In this case, that might be true but some genuine all-stars of entertainment sing along with Rita.

The Oscar takes the cake for Rita Moreno

As Variety and other sources noted last week, special friends like Lin Manuel Miranda and Gloria Estefan will also celebrate being cast as drawings transferred to celluloid. It will be Miranda’s debut, and Rita Moreno and Gloria Estefan will sing “Mi Tierra.”

Moreno and Estefan have both been honored with Kennedy Center Honors recognition, and Lin Manuel Miranda received special recognition, along with full production of “Hamilton” in 2019.

Above all her accolades, however, Rita Moreno cherishes the Oscar, which she took for her role of Anita in the film version of “West Side Story” in 1961. She evokes a special accent to note how her family says “Oscaaar.” “And the Puerto Rican girl got it!” She still marvels.

The reason for her vivacious abandon and truth in the unforgettable performance of “America” stems from the Veritas of her own life.

Steven Spielberg has taken the helm for the “West Side Story” remake, set for a December release if plans and pandemic conditions permit. Rita Moreno stars in the production and also serves as an executive producer on the project.

“It means everything,” she declares of the collaboration with Spielberg. “You may call me ‘Your Majesty’ any time you wish…” Moreno playfully teases of her production role. The luminous actress has come a long way since the days when she couldn't get a part without an accent.

Being pigeonholed and the righteous protests are relevant for Rita Moreno

Her unrestrainable work ethic kept Rita Moreno pressing on, but not for the parts she desired. “For years and years, I never had a part without an accent,” she confesses.” Long before “Dances with Wolves” or “Crazy Rich Asians,” Moreno was cast in countless, inauthentic ethnic roles. The film industry is still moving toward genuine diversity appreciation in this 2020 moment.

Gene Kelly gave Rita Moreno the part she desperately yearned for in “Singin’ in the Rain”—an American girl. The actress still applauds the grace and inner fortitude of the dancing giant in seeing her talent beyond nationality. Rita thought that her dream of simply playing “young women” could become reality, “but it didn’t happen,” she regrets.

“It was a struggle all the way and it’s still a struggle.”

Rita Moreno was prepared for the struggle in forging her career, and she’s inspired by the numbers of mixed ethnicities, ages, and genders marching in the streets across the globe. “Of course I’m watching!” the iconic star reiterates. “Does a bear p@@p in the woods?”

In an Entertainment Tonight feature, Rita Moreno recalled seeing Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. improvise his “I Have a Dream” speech in person. She still has the same activist fire of decades ago and would love to be among the marching legions. The “tragic and unnecessary” death of George Floyd still stirs anger as well as grief in her, but she senses that this time, the change will come.

“This time, we’re gonna make them listen!” declares the star who has lived through the pain of social change more than a few times. No one can refute a woman of such conviction, whether she is speaking as Lydia Riera on “One Day at a Time” or as real-life Rita Moreno.

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